From the Desk of Nettio Designs Issue No. 5
Hello hello creative adventurers and welcome to this special birthday edition of From the Desk of Nettio Designs! I know we have some new people joining us this week so a hearty welcome to you all – so glad to have you here!
I hope you all have your party hats handy because this week, Nettio Designs officially turns 2! Woohoo, it’s party time!
That’s right, two years ago today, I officially opened the doors of Nettio Designs. Hard to believe my little business baby is already a toddler. *sniff sniff proud mama tears*
It’s pretty safe to say that owning my own business has been one of the most crazy and rewarding creative & life adventures I have ever been on, full of some high highs, low lows and incredible opportunities and experiences.
But as challenging as the day to day nature of being a solo-preneur can be at times, it’s hard to deny that there’s something unbelievably rewarding about knowing that every single dollar you bring in (no matter how lean that income may be at times) is a direct result of your own personal blood, sweat & tears.
Since Sweet Shoppe Designs is also celebrating its birthday this month (lucky number 7!) I’ve kept the birthday festivities here at Nettio Designs pretty chill. (I’m guessing this is how my dad felt every year he had to share his Dec 23rd birthday with my grandma.)
But since I had such a fun time sharing the lessons I learned in my first year of business during my anniversary celebration last year, I thought it’d be fun to share a few lessons I’ve learned in year two of owning my own digital business. Because lord knows there have been some lessons with a capital L, haha.
Lesson #1: Never compare your insides to someone else’s outsides
One of the great things about owning an online business? You can spend the day working in your comfy pants and ignoring the ever growing pile of dishes in your sink and no one will ever be the wiser.
The downside to this? The same is true for everyone else. You can’t see their reality either unless they want you to see it.
Which means, because it’s human nature for most people to put their best foot forward, it can be easy to get caught up in comparing your reality to what you imagine every one else’s reality to be. And let’s face it, we all imagine everyone else’s situation to be more glamorous/easy/insert your fave adjective here than our own, right? Especially when you start adding designing and money into the mix, it can be easy to get stuck in a spiral of feeling like you’re not as talented/fast/organized/perfect as everyone else.
I admit when I first moved to the Sweet Shoppe last year, I fell into this trap a bit. I went from designing within my own little happy bubble here at Nettio Designs to suddenly having to compare my work to 29 other designers every week. It was tough and I had more than a few moments where I felt like I wasn’t as talented/creative/organized as every one else. And I admit, there’s still times when I struggle with this.
But then I remind myself that this isn’t reality, its fear. And the more you talk to people, the more you realize everyone in the world is making things up as they go, even the people who seem like they have everything together. They just don’t want you to know that, haha. So run your own race and push yourself to be the best you can possibly be.
Lesson #2: Make things for people you love
When I first moved to the Sweet Shoppe last April, I felt like a tiny fish thrown into a big pond. Suddenly I went from designing for a customer base I knew was excited about what I did (because well, I was the only designer here, haha) to feeling like I had to please this ever elusive much broader Sweet Shoppe customer. And I admit, I wasn’t totally sure what they wanted from me. Did I now need to design school-themed templates? Or baby books even though I’m not a mom? I started to feel a bit lost.
Then over the summer I read the book Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon (which I wrote about before here), and there was a great quote at the end of the book that went like this:
“Make things for people you love. For people you want to meet.”
And I realized, that’s what I want to do.
A huge part of the reason I started Nettio Designs was because I want to connect with other tech-lovin’, patterned paper obsessed, creative & adventurous (or would like to be) scrapbookers like myself. I want to design products to make our lives easier – products I’m excited to use for my own scrapbooking – and solve problems I struggle with in hopes it’ll help you out too.
I know what I design or do isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and you know what? That’s perfectly ok. Because the more I focus on the people who are most passionate about what I do the more we can all grow together. And that’s really what it’s all about, right?
Lesson #3: Planning to-dos against time is the key to getting things done
This is a new lesson I’m still learning on a day-to-day basis so I’m just going to say this: if you’re the type of creative person who loses track of time and takes on WAY more ideas than they have time to implement, planning out your individual to-do list items on a calendar will change your life.
Will it be fun when you first write down everything and have to admit you don’t have time to do it all? No. That part actually kind of sucks if you’re a big idea person like me, haha.
But the more you do it, the better you get at estimating and managing your time. And once you start seeing big goals become reality (without scrambling at the last minute or working late into the night), it starts to make it all worth it.
Lesson #4: The best ideas don’t come when you’re in front of a computer
As a tech-lover, it pains me a little bit to admit this, but it’s oh-so-very true. Whenever I’m stuck, the best thing I can do is walk away and do something simple: go for a walk, hit the gym, or my favorite, take a shower and do my hair/makeup so I feel like a productive member of society. It never fails that it’s in those moments that a solution will come to you or the right words or phrases fall into place.
Lesson #5: Chatting with you is my favorite part of this job
It’s cheesy and cliche’d but it’s true. My favorite part of this job is getting to connect with all of you. I love nothing more than replying to blog comments or reading the emails you send me sharing how your Blurb book brought you to tears. Those moments make all the hard work absolutely worth it and are a huge reason why I do what I do. Nettio Designs wouldn’t be here without you so I hope you know how much it means to me that you trust my designs with your most favorite memories and adventures.
Which brings me to this week’s challenge…
It’s Challenge Time!
Last year as part of my 1st anniversary I sent out a survey asking for your thoughts. This year I’ve decided to simplify by instead asking you to send me an email or leave a comment below with your answer to this question:
When it comes to creatively capturing your life adventures, what are you struggling with right now?
Best part, there are no right or wrong answers, and no reason too big or small. I just want to hear how things are or aren’t working for you right now.
And with that, it’s time to close out this week’s birthday installment of From the Desk of Nettio Designs! Owning my own business has been a constant cycle of learning and growth and I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of a rush. I’m excited to see what year three brings to Nettio Designs. Here’s hoping this business toddler can avoid the terrible twos…
This post is Issue No. 5 of my From The Desk of Nettio Designs weekly email series. Want to get in on the action? Sign up for Nettio Designs emails here.